Predicting the Size of Your Dog's Offspringby Betty Lewis
Puppies are on the way, and you may wonder what size doggy sweater to knit, or whether you'll need a small, medium or large crate. There's no fail-safe way to predict the size of your dog's offspring, so adaptability will go a long way in case you're off on your estimate.
Purebreds Are Easy
If your dog's blessed event was planned, you'll have an easier time predicting her offspring. For example, if you bred your lady Labrador retriever with a male Labrador, you can guess that her offspring will probably be comparable to the American Kennel Club's breed standard for Labradors -- in this case, around 24 inches tall at the shoulder and between 55 and 80 pounds.
The Less You Know, the More You Guess
If your dog's pregnancy is a surprise, predicting the puppies' size is more difficult. If you know who the father is, you'll have a better chance of estimating the size range of the puppies based on mom and dad's adult size. If your dog is mixed breed, it's more difficult to estimate -- but you can take a guess based on what breeds you think are in her genetic makeup. Waiting a while is likely your best option: as a puppy grows, his paw size indicates how large he'll be -- the larger the paw, the bigger the dog. You can also compare the puppies' growth to a growth curve. Smaller dogs gain weight and reach adulthood quicker than large dogs. Regardless of the method you use to predict -- or guess -- remember that sometimes even two small dogs can produce a pup that's bigger than normal because of family history.
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images